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Global Fund calls for speedy resolution of KEMSA woes

The government has been urged to put in place sufficient mitigating measures to ensure that The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA)’s challenges, including governance, transparency and accountability are resolved.

Global Fund (GF) Grant Head, Mark Edington, says that while they are alive to the fact that KEMSA reform program is on-going and is expected to positively transform the Authority, the transformation of the body to its former glory is very critical for the Kenya Health sector.

Edington who spoke virtually, Tuesday, during the signing of six Global Fund grants to Kenya for the three-year period covering July 2021 to June 2024, asked the government of Kenya to pay urgent attention to resolving the issues at KEMSA, including addressing the recent disruption in supply chain for critical drugs for HIV.

“We also request that the Government of Kenya puts in place mitigation measures to ensure timely procurements of health products, including for Covid-19, which are critical and urgent. Some of the arrangements we have seen are unacceptably long,” decried the Global Grant boss.

He further noted that the Global Fund’s Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) audit, is currently ongoing, and that they will be reaching out to discuss some aspects of the audit and obtain clarifications / additional information to support the audit process.

“We look forward to the support of the Cabinet Secretaries, board of KEMSA, to work with the OIG, to address issues that arise during the ongoing audit, as the GF’s future decisions will be heavily guided by the findings and recommendations arising from the Audit.” said the Funds Chief.

He also lauded Kenya for playing critical roles in several areas of the Fund, including government support, during the last Global Fund Replenishment Campaign and also represents the South and Eastern Africa Constituency on the Board of the Global Fund.

“At the GF we also recognize Kenya’s leading role in demonstrating that recipient countries can contribute effectively towards mobilizing domestic resources to support the health sector. We thank both Cabinet Secretaries of The National Treasury and the Ministry of Health, for the exemplary leadership in this direction,” he said.

He further applauded Kenya for its US$ 6 million contribution to the Global Fund replenishment and for the proactive counterpart funding commitment from the Government of Kenya of Sh16 billion (approximately US$ 147 million) for HIV, Tuberculosis & Malaria for the FYs 2020/21 to 2023/24 as part of its counterpart contribution.

The Fund gave six grants worth US$ 441 million for HIV ($264m), tuberculosis ($96m) and malaria ($81m) that includes catalytic funding components of approximately US$ 26 million for key populations, human rights, adolescents/ young women interventions and finding missing TB cases in the Country.

This funding, which represents a 16 per cent increase from the previous funding cycle (NFM2), will allow Kenya to maintain progress so far achieved, further scale-up support to the three disease programs and considerably invest in its health systems.

The six grants will be implemented by three Principal Recipients, namely the National Treasury of the Government of Kenya, AMREF Health Africa and the Kenya Red Cross Society.

“I welcome the ambitious targets that include achieving the 95-95-95 UNAIDS HIV care cascade targets by 2025, increasing TB treatment coverage from 60% in 2020 to 79% in 2023 and rolling out activities for malaria elimination in four targeted counties,” Edington said.

He reiterated GF commitment to sustaining the gains, as reflected in the funding already approved and disbursed for mitigation of Covid-19 related disruptions to the health sector.

“To date, the Global Fund has approved funding for the Kenya Covid-19 response of US$ 68 million with an additional US$ 71 million awaiting Global Fund Board review / approval from the C19RM 2021 Full Funding request proposal recently submitted by Kenya,” he said.

Ministry of Health, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Dr. Rashid Aman, said that the funds will be used in strengthening health systems at National, County as well as community levels.

Dr. Aman said that as a country they hope to achieve comprehensive prevention, treatment and care for people infected with HIV, TB, leprosy and lung diseases by at least 75 per cent by 2023.

The CAS commended Global Fund for the new grant, adding that the Fund has provided 25 grants to the Kenya since 2002, amounting to Sh100 billion.

By Alice Gworo

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